Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/31/13)

Happy New Year's Eve! I'll be around tomorrow so I'll probably post as usual, though it might be a bit later, if I manage to sleep in on my day off.

Carly Rae Jepsen is taking over as Cinderella in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway show and . . . I don't know, maybe she'll surprise us and be great, but I'm very glad I saw it with the wonderful Laura Osnes instead.

This story is completely fascinating: The Welfare Queen

Finding Gillooly: What Happened To Figure Skating's Infamous Villain?

How To Tell If You Are In A Noel Streatfeild Novel

"Take it. Take the bagel and run."

Love In The Time Of Hollering: The Age Of Enthusiasm

Ballerina and YA novelist Sophie Flack dishes on dancing Nutcracker for years.

Here's Sutton Foster, Anna Kendrick, and others singing together at the Kennedy Center Honors. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/30/13)

Hi there! I hope everyone who celebrated had a great holiday. I just got back home late last night, so I'm still discombobulated. And most of these links were things I found before Christmas and never posted, so apologies if any now seem old. More normal tomorrow, I hope.

Fleming will premiere on BBC America on January 29th.

When "Life Hacking" Is Really White Privilege

NPR fans will REALLY want to watch this. I promise.

The Olympic torch relay is having some issues.

The Private Lives of the Cheerlebrities of Instagram

Ancient Chinese cat bones shake up domestication theory

Life on a British Cold War Submarine

New Details About the Joan Fontaine-Olivia de Havilland Feud Revealed

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Friday. Let's have a book meme.

This book meme - which basically boils down to "name ten books that have stayed with you for years" - has been going around Facebook, but my friend Nicole posted it on her blog and tagged all her friends, and we've decided we're bringing memes back, because we miss them. SO. Here are my ten, in roughly chronological (of my life, not publication) order.

1) The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I loved books from when I was tiny, but this was the series that really turned me into a voracious reader when I broke my leg at age six and was stuck in bed for a while. And this is my favorite of the series.

2) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - I started reading LMM when I was about eight and haven't stopped. And this was my first ever online fandom, when I joined an LMM listserv in 1996. (I made friends there that I have to this day.)

3) An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle - The first novel I specifically remember making me think about abstract ideas, in addition to the direct plot/characters/etc. Later wrote my college thesis on this and some of her other books.

4) The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - Just mind-blowing to a relatively sheltered Catholic kid, and sparked a lot of my interest in Celtic mythology and Arthurian lore. (Weirdly enough for a book considered to be a feminist retelling, I read this because all my male friends were reading it, and they were shocked and horrified by me reading something with sex in it.)

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I'm pretty sure I read this when the 1995 TV version came out, and it was one of the first adult "classics" I read for fun (rather than school) and wholeheartedly loved.

6) Mystique by Amanda Quick - The first romance novel I read, plucked from my mom's bag of library books one snow day in high school.

7) The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir - One of the first adult history books I read. My friend Christine and I recently realized, after complaining about several of Weir's books in a row but still buying them all, that Weir just got us young enough that we're convinced we love all her stuff even though we have grave concerns about her methods and style.

8) True Believers by Jane Haddam - My senior year of college, I read this (then new) mystery and then went back and ILLed all the previous books in the series, and they kept me sane while I was writing my thesis and preparing to leave school.

9) Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser - I found this when I was working at a bookstore after college, and it got me more interested in cooking and food writing, and provided a sort of touchstone for how to Be An Adult when I was newly out on my own.

10) So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson - I found this around the same time, and it similarly provided a context for how a bookworm could be a mostly functional adult. It's also one of the best celebrations of reading I've ever read, and now I reread it whenever I'm in a reading slump.

I don't want to be annoying and tag anyone who doesn't want to do it, but if you WANT to, consider yourself tagged, and leave a link to your answer in the comments so I can read it! (Or if you don't have a blog but just feel like sharing in the comments, feel free.)

Morning Coffee (12/20/13)

Happy Friday! Next week I'll be traveling and celebrating with my family, so I'm going to take the week off from regular Morning Coffee posts, though I will pop in if I have a moment or something I feel the need to share.

If you missed it yesterday, I'm having a little contest in which you can guess how many Christmas cookies I'll wind up making this year.


And speaking of Harry Potter, check out these images from a new illustrated edition.

Prince Charles and Camilla's holiday card is adorable.

In other adorable Windsor news, Prince William left his brother a voicemail pretending to be Chelsy Davy.

Hot Men in Warm Sweaters

I almost said "I'd get a dog if it did my laundry," but no, a dog is way more work than laundry. STILL. Neat.

Here's the first teaser for the new Salem drama. HI THERE, Seth Gabel's voice.

Happy birthday, crossword puzzles!

First World War Christmas Cards

The Best American Infographics 2013 sounds fun.

There's finally a Star Trek version of those family car decals.

Hee: Bo Obama Receives Visiting Dognitaries From Furuguay

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas cookie guessing game!

So, late last night, on Twitter, I sort of accidentally started a contest. I've been tweeting running tallies of my Christmas cookie baking, and last night I said "Huh, no idea what the final total will be. Guesses?" And then I decided I should give a prize to whoever guessed closest. And then I decided I should put this post here so those who weren't on Twitter at midnight on a Wednesday night could have a chance too. SO.

To enter, just guess how many Christmas cookies I will bake this year, and put your guess in the comments or tweet me. Tonight I'm planning to make more dough but not actually bake anything, so you have until I give a tally update Friday night to enter. Some hints:
  • I have made 192 cookies so far.
  • I will make 8 kinds of cookies. I'll make two batches of some of these.
  • The first six dozen were for a cookie exchange.
  • With the rest, I'm doing cookie trays for three events, plus some family favorites to just have around the house Christmas week, plus maybe a few small cookie boxes for friends.
  • I will be done by Sunday night.
The prize: Whoever guesses closest can pick either a $10 online gift card (to Amazon, iTunes, or another service/site of your choice that's logistically reasonable for me) now OR a package of homemade cookies sent to you in January, because no way will I have time to bake MORE and get to the post office before Christmas.

Anyway, this was just a fun spontaneous little thing that I have now codified because I just can't help myself. SO. Guess away! Have fun! (And if you guessed on Twitter last night but want to change your guess based on the information provided here, be my guest.)

Morning Coffee (12/19/13)

Two more days of work! I am very ready for vacation.

Christmas in Washington is on tomorrow, and the most delightfully random assortment of people are involved. Hugh Jackman! The Backstreet Boys! The Obamas! Sheryl Crow! Anna Kendrick!

If Pippa Middleton is really engaged, this should be fun to watch.

The best and worst media errors and corrections in 2013

Someone else is writing a Dragon Tattoo sequel. My first reaction, of course, is to disapprove, but it's not like Larsson was known for his beautiful prose, so . . . we'll see.

Fun: OED birthday word generator

This analysis of Twitter popularity is pretty fascinating.

I actually like Love, Actually, or at least parts of it, but this takedown is hilarious.

This Dr. PetPlay app looks like SO MUCH FUN.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/18/13)

Ronnie Biggs, the "Great Train Robber," has died.

ALERT: Prince Harry grows beard; hangs out with Alexander Skarsgard.

As my friend Holly remarked, this is a lot of hot dudes on one charity calendar.

Pivot - a television station that I apparently actually do get - is airing Buffy and Veronica Mars reruns starting in January.

John Dickerson tears apart the false choice between recording moments and living them.

Why I Am Not Coming in to Work Today

If you haven't seen it yet, the Sesame Street Lord of the Rings parody is cute.

And this Lego Rivendell is just amazing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/17/13)

Four more days of work until Christmas break! Not that I'm counting. Ha.

Speaking of: Christmas is in the air.

Read the "Stomach-Churning" Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full

How about we don't use people's creative efforts to humiliate them?

Remember Michaele Salahi? She hopes so! (She and her Journey guitarist claim they're "not interested in any drama." I hate to break it to them, but that ship has sailed.)

I don't actually care much about Beyonce, but this thermal map of Twitter when her album hit is fascinating.

Danny Strong is writing the new Guys and Dolls movie. I remain guardedly optimistic.

This is, of course, wonderful: J.K. Rowling on charm bracelets for the Lumos auction.

Well, this is adorable: The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Barnardo's (a children's charity) and helped decorate their Christmas tree.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/16/13)

Happy Monday! Christmas is somehow suddenly NEXT WEEK. How did that happen?

Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine have died. Time for viewings of The Lion in Winter and Rebecca, I think. At least one of them is seasonal.

Colin Donnell - a.k.a Tommy from Arrow - and Patti Murin recorded a thoroughly delightful cover of "All I Want for Christmas."

In case anyone other than me and my brother still cares, here's some information on season four of The Killing.

A Ten-Month-Old's Letter to Santa

Oops: Pupils' Christmas 'ruined' by vicar's Santa Claus origins story

This piece on How to Name a Baby has some fascinating naming statistics and would probably also be useful for writers naming characters.

Dallas fans, this holiday greeting from the Ewings is great.

The Onion: 30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/6/13)

Happy Friday!

I usually wouldn't think I'd link to an obituary from THE ONION, but this is kind of great: Nelson Mandela Becomes First Politician To Be Missed

I can't believe I never knew about the Beatles' Christmas recordings.

My friend Nicole has some great advice for minimizing holiday stress.

Wow. Check out Christmas cats TV.

In 1930, people were very concerned about the dangerous crossword puzzle habit.

Hee: Do you 'ship absurd fictional couples? This music video is for you.

Whoa, they've digitally reconstructed the tombs planned for Henry Fitzroy and Thomas Howard.

Malinda Lo's Adaptation keeps showing up on Elementary.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/5/13)

Heads up, marshmallows: The Veronica Mars movie will be in theaters nationwide on March 14th.

Whoa: Newsweek is bringing back its print edition.

How Junk Science and Anti-Lesbian Prejudice Got Four Women Sent to Prison for More Than a Decade

Make sure you check out NPR's awesome 2013 Book Concierge.

And why they're taking a break from lists.

Time, on the other hand, has top ten lists for everything.

I had no idea some of these phrases were New England specific.

I very rarely say "I want that accessory Katy Perry has," but LOOK AT THIS PURSE.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Morning Coffee (12/4/13)

Well, this is shocking: The MBTA is trying out late-night weekend service next year.

The year's top baby names: Sophia and Jackson.

Some serious things: You should read Jamelle Bouie on that GOP Rosa Parks tweet and how racism is still a big problem.

And relatedly, my friend Hannah on Zwarte Piet.

Why the "Rape Girls" Are Speaking Out

And the DC Metro's ad aimed at women: "Can't we just talk about shoes?"

Linda Holmes has good things to say about Internet hoaxes.

Okay, something fun to reward you for getting through all that: bookish wedding cakes!

Monday, December 2, 2013